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To say that the subject of globalisation is contentious is somewhat of an understatement The topic is debated at all levels of study from global culture to economic integration and at all levels there are conflicting views Such conflicts concern whether or not there are truly globalising forces or whether it is merely a type of imperialism carried out by the wealthy whether there is an integrated global economic system or whether it is that trade between key states has just grown whether a global economy acts to constrain states making their own domestic policy or whether this is an excuse for states not to give adequate social provision Whatever the value of these contrasting viewpoints to be sure these questions remain unresolved Perhaps the most interesting of these debates is one whose solution would answer most other questions around the subject Indeed when most people talk of globalisation it is taken for granted that this is a new phenomenon The starting point for most people who support the globalisation thesis is around the break up of the Soviet Union Advocates of globalisation argue that it arose out of the ashes of the bipolar world That now serious trade barriers had been eradicated in almost all powerful countries the global economy and global integration thrived For instance Renato Riggiero Director-General of the World Trade Organisation WTO dates the onset of this phenomenon beginning in the 1970s and accelerating in the 1980s the world economy entered a second phase of development - what is now typically referred to as a phase of globalization Riggiero views the development of the world economy in three stages The first is internationalisation where trade was the most important factor the second was the period of globalisation where the production process became broken up and distributed around the globe and investment became more important than trade and the third period is the boarderless global economy Renato Riggiero Sept 1997 As
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